Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Johnston's Book Details Battle with Substance Abuse

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Johnston's Book Details Battle with Substance Abuse

Article excerpt

WHO: Kristen Johnston.

WHAT: Actress/author book signing.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday.

WHERE: Bookends, 211 E. Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood; 201-445-0726 or book-ends.com.

HOW MUCH: Free with purchase of book ($25).

Kristen Johnston should not be alive, and she knows it.

The actress, best known for her long stint on the sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun," abused alcohol and drugs to such an extent that her stomach exploded in 2006 while she was in England appearing in a play. The medical term is "acute peritonitis," but, basically, an ulcer burst and nearly poisoned her to death. Johnston survived, learned her lesson and now she's sharing her story - about her life and career, the ups and downs, the addictions and fateful medical crisis - in a memoir called "Guts." Johnston, currently on a book tour, will appear at Bookends this week.

"It's so true," Johnston says. "I should not be alive. I was actually on 'Dr. Oz' the other day and he said, 'I can't believe you lived. You should not be alive.' So, that wasn't just the British doctors overreacting. That was straight from America's favorite doctor."

Johnston, speaking by telephone from her home in Los Angeles, explains that the writing part of "Guts" came easily. That was the case despite the fact she's not a journal-er, nor a writer of any kind. However, recounting certain events in her life, and sharing those sometimes-awful memories, proved far tougher than she imagined.

"I love books and have ever since I was a kid," Johnston says. "I'd tried to write a screenplay once and couldn't get past the first word. So, when I sat down to do this, I thought, 'This won't be easy.' Then I thought, 'Well, if Snooki can do it, why can't I?' I didn't realize most people use ghost writers, so I didn't even think to ask for one. I just started writing, even before I was with Simon & Schuster. …

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